Alaska Natives Speak Out Against Pebble Mine

The author at the protestVisiting Anchorage last week I had the pleasure to brave below freezing temperatures and stand in solidarity with Alaska natives to voice my opposition to the proposed Pebble Mine.

If you are not familiar with the Pebble Mine issue, the plan is to build one of the world’s largest gold and copper mines at the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s unparalleled wild salmon fisherya fishery that supports over 40 million sockeye salmon a year.

Our protest was focused outside a symposium conducted by the Keystone Center titled “Responsible Large-Scale Mining”. While the intended focus of the industry funded conference was to engage a variety of players involved with the Pebble Mine project, there was a noticeable contrast in the Pebble Mine stakeholders who were nice and warm inside the heated symposium versus the stakeholders who were literally left out in the cold.

Wearing burnt orange “Fish First” hats and chanting “Clean Water, Wild Salmon!,” close to 100 natives, commercial fishermen, and sportsmen and women rallied their opposition to the Pebble Mine project.

Despite the industry’s attempt to convince us otherwise by using catchy symposium titles like “Responsible Mining”, the Keystone Center’s conference can’t change the fact that the Bristol Bay watershed is the wrong place for one of the world’s largest open pit gold and copper metallic sulfide mines.

Last year Cynthia Carroll CEO of Anglo American, the controlling company attempting to build Pebble Mine said “If I’m not satisfied we can proceed (with Pebble Mine) without harm to the local people and the environment, then we simply won’t do it. We will not go where communities are against us.”

Let’s hope she is listening.

Alaskan Natives Brave the Cold to Protest the Pebble Mine